UN Security Council Discusses N.Korean Rights Abuses

The UN Security Council met at UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday to discuss human rights violations in North Korea. This is the first time the council has discussed the matter, since permanent member China is a close ally of the North and has usually resisted drawing attention to it.

Michael Kirby, a former Australian High Court judge who led the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, briefed council during the two-hour meeting. He reportedly called on the international community should intervene under the "responsibility to protect" doctrine as the North Korean regime has failed its people.

There were reportedly calls in the meeting to bring those responsible in North Korea to justice at the International Criminal Court. But that would need an official UNSC resolution, and China is likely to exercise its veto.

The meeting also heard from North Korean defectors Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born in a concentration camp in South Pyongan Province and escaped in 2005, and Lee Hyeon-seo. Both urged the council to take the initiative in resolving the human rights issues in North Korea.

The meeting was held in the form of an informal discussion at the proposal of Australia, which is a non-permanent member, and permanent members France and the U.S. The format is chosen when member states want to discuss issues that are likely to provoke divisive views.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 18, 2014 12:05 KST